We all have a lot to do during the workday, and it might not be many moments to reflect. Things that we, when we first got our work assignments, found new and maybe even confusing turns into routines after some time. Routines are great. You get faster and better at what you do. But there are also some traps. You gradually stop to question and improve the things you do. When others question or come with suggestions for improvement you may not have the time to really take it in, and that’s when you risk missing a possibly important opportunity of improvement.
This happens more often than it should...
How new things becomes established and then outdated
It takes time for new ideas, paradigms and changes to catch on. The scientific theory ”Diffusion of Innovation” (and it’s cousin, the hype cycle) that was made up in the 1960’s by Everett Rogers, is often seen as a good model to describe how the human takes in new things, make them a part of their everyday, just to later on see them as old and outdated.
The diffusion of innovation figured out how the agriculture was modernized during the last century, and the parallels to the digitalization, for example, is striking. The most publicized is the infamous “gap” (also known as The Chasm) between inventors and early users (early adopters) on one hand, and more pragmatic users on the other hand. Many ideas and businesses has fallen victim to this gap because their inventors haven’t had the patience to wait for the critical mass to change their behaviors…
Diffusion of Innovation shows how 2.5% of the population make up the inventors, then comes the early adopters at 12.5%. These two groups like new things and has oversight of e.g. “child sickness” or things that doesn’t really work. The rest of the population demands that things work and that they have a proven, and often economically defensible purpose. These dynamics very much affect how we take in, not just new techniques and products, but also new ways of working.
Change demands acceptance and one hell of an effort
So how do you implement something new in e.g. an organization that has become stuck in its routines? Time after time it shows that us humans need three things to really accomplish big changes. If these three exist, the change cannot be stopped. But if there is only one or two, the one who want the change will have a hard time doing so. The three things are:
- A vision or a goal of what we want to achieve.
- Acceptance for the current state / the starting point, and
- A strong belief, patience and endurance to achieve the goal.
Acceptance for the current state is extra interesting; it’s not so rare that it can be hard to accept others resistance towards one’s own ideas. But with the feet on the ground and a healthy view of what the environment can possibly join in on, all you need to do is to start working. Working to build an acceptance for the change you want to carry through.
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Nils Erik Wallman
Co-founder of InfoCaption, previously CEO and now coach, inspirer, and social entrepreneur. Nils is an inventor and programmer at heart, and with a strong interest in people and contexts that never let their belief in a more human friendly future where technology helps people to live a deeper, more interesting life.
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